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Salesbeat Podcast – Interview with Veena Gopal and Matt Selbie

Aug 4, 2022 | News, Retail

It was a pleasure chatting with Veena Gopal on a recent edition of her Salesbeat podcast.

Veena is CEO of Salesbeat.co. Their AI driven platform uses micro & macro factors to model consumer buying behavior. Moreover, makes predictive recommendations of optimal order volumes for sales staff to agree with customers. They specialize in all things retail and produce some cracking content particularly on the Youtube channel. Well worth listening to.

For those who want to skip the transcript – you can listen to the full podcast on apple – here, on Spotify – here

This is the premise:

How can you be sure that your efforts bring the desired results for your brand? If you do not find out what your customers or consumers actually think about your product, store or experience, you will never be able to prevent them from moving to another brand and sharing that discontent with others. Their opinions on the experience they have with your brand or their journey in your store is helpful information that can be used to retain customers and also craft a better product, store offering or experience.

Top performing companies understand the importance of customer feedback in business. But overcoming the reluctance of customers to share feedback is an ongoing struggle. Paper comment cards, POS surveys and Mystery Shopping (check out the 12 major Mystery Shopping issues) are just not up the job. With this in mind – why were we chatting?

There were four main questions:

  1. How important is customer feedback in the FMCG business?
  2. What are some common pitfalls for feedback in retail?
  3. How is Opiniator unique?
  4. How it can revolutionize the shopper experience in the FMCG sector?


Question1 : How important is customer feedback in the FMCG business?

Matt Selbie:

That is easy – CRITICAL! Although of course the same can be said of any business with competitors. Just look at a shopper journey at any retail store. It is made up of a series of interaction points with the brand. These are not equally important but do impact experience (for definition of customer experience, check out a previous podcast). Just take a look at one of these journeys – perhaps for a grocery store:

Shopper Journey Map

Now think about how many touchpoints, how much complexity and how many brand interactions. Each shopper or browser carries around a virtual backpack into which all experiences throughout the journey are put. The sum total will be the positive and negative accumulated. This means that the more steps in the journey the higher the likelihood of an overall negative experience. Moreover the negative experience could have happened way before the shopper even sees an individual SKU. So, the FMCG brand already faces an uphill challenge in persuading the shopper to buy. Consequently – allowing feedback AND resolution at any point in this journey is vital for the retailer and the FMCG.

Question 2 : What are some of the pitfalls for feedback in retail ?

Matt Selbie:

Let us tee up the issue first. What does feedback help solve? The key problem is customer defection. In fact Service Channel reported:

Low Operating Standards Causes High Retail Defection

In more detail, 70% of shoppers have had a recent negative experience in stores. This is causing customers to defect and a decrease in customer spending for the company.

Retail delivers a poor experience

Loyalty is decreasing from a higher percentage of customers. The current retail model is just not working. Moreover, the current feedback practices are not contributing. Specifically:

  • POS Surveys – just simply ineffective, never capturing enough data and always at the END of the journey.
  • Comment Cards – so bad we even made a video about them.
  • Mystery Shopping – they have their place as a training aid, but do not belong as a feedback tool
  • Social Media – don’t get me started! A really bad idea that should be banished to the graveyard of bad ideas

None of these tools improve the journey, nor allow the retailer or FMCG to correct a negative experience. This means they can do nothing to solve the above problems or defections.

Question 3 : How is Opiniator unique?

Matt Selbie:

Opiniator is a digital comment card system that captures on-the-spot ratings, comments and feedback from real customers using their own mobile phone – at any time throughout their experience, then tracks the issues until resolution. This allows the retail store and / or the FMCG brand to collect data, but more importantly to act on that data as the shopper is still in the store. Unlike other feedback methods, the program delivers an ROI based on improving retention rates and a reduction in existing feedback costs.

Question 4: How it can revolutionize the shopper experience in the FMCG sector?

Matt Selbie:

The best way to answer this is to think what feedback content a retailer does not have, but is valuable. Let us think about some examples:

  • What is out of stock?
  • What should the retailer be carrying but does not?
  • What is the shopper rating for a product display?
  • If the shopper is a first time visitor – what drove them to decide on the store brand?
  • If the product is new – what are the key drivers for the shopper to buy it?
  • Is the end cap the most effective promotional pneumonic?
  • How clean are the restrooms – important because an unclean restroom equates with a dirty store?
  • Does anything need repairing in the store?
  • Are the staff knowledgeable about product location?
  • What is an acceptable queue length?

In fact, the use cases are endless – and for this reason it is critical to enable real-time, in location shopper feedback. Signage always prompts the feedback as you see below:

Shopper Feedback Signage Examples

A delight to chat with Veena and we look forward to the next one. Remember you can listen to the full podcast by simply clicking on the image below.

Salesbeat Podcast




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